Gestation Calculator

This calculator has been designed to give you an idea of the treatment options available to you*. If you decide to have an abortion with Marie Stopes UK, one of our nurses will give a more approximate gestation date during your appointment by way of a scan.
*Please note that this online calculator will only give you an estimated gestation based on the details you have provided.

Please select the first day of your last menstrual period.



We are here to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Call us now on 0345 300 8090 or email services@mariestopes.org.uk

0345 300 8090

You are here

What will happen to me with a surgical abortion?

The type of anaesthetic you choose, and how many weeks pregnant you are (your gestation), will determine the exact procedure when you have a surgical abortion. We give the following advice for all clients.

What to wear

You won't need to fully undress for your treatment – you'll only be asked to remove your lower garments. It's a good idea to wear a long t-shirt or top. For after your treatment, you'll be more comfortable in loose clothing and supportive underwear as you'll need to wear a sanitary pad. 

Driving and going home

If you're having treatment with sedation or general anaesthetic, you should not drive or operate machinery for 48 hours. We advise that you have someone to accompany you home and stay with you overnight.  

Ideally, it's best if you can get home as soon as possible. However, we understand that you may have to travel some distance to get home, especially if you're coming from overseas.

All clients should be aware that DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clot in a vein can happen after a period of extended immobility, whether in a car, train or aircraft, and particularly a long flight. The risk of DVT also increases during pregnancy due to the raised level of hormones. If you have to fly home, we recommend that you don't fly the same day as your surgical treatment, and stay overnight locally if possible. 

What happens before your treatment 

  • The receptionist will check your notes to ensure all details are complete.
  • If you've not yet had an ultrasound scan or blood test, this will be completed before your admission for treatment if applicable.
  • If you're a private client (not NHS), you'll be asked to pay your fee. Please understand that we cannot proceed with treatment without payment.
  • Our doctors will review your notes and ensure you're medically fit for the procedure.
  • Once everything is ready for you, you will be shown through to the pre-treatment waiting area.
  • If you have any questions a nurse will be able to answer them for you, so please feel free to discuss anything.
  • Should you require any information about what happens regarding your pregnancy following abortion, please ask a nurse for information. 

You may have to wait a while before your treatment. Ensuring our clients' safety is a priority at Marie Stopes, and as a result, sometimes delays happen. We ask for your patience and understanding in this instance. 

For later abortions, you will spend more time at the centre. We may need to prepare your cervix for treatment, which will delay your visit on the day by 4-6 hours. This is a necessary part of your treatment.

Choosing your anaesthetic 

At Marie Stopes, we believe women have a right to choose which method of anaesthetic they have. This will also be determined by your general health and your gestation. For early surgical abortion, you can choose to have no anaesthetic, conscious sedation, or a general anaesthetic. For later abortions after 18-19 weeks, we only offer abortion under a general anaesthetic for safety reasons.

Surgical abortion with no anaesthetic

This method is most appropriate for those women who don't want to have any form of sedation, or who have medical conditions making sedation more risky. We usually suggest you only consider this method for early surgical abortion.

Most women will experience some pain and discomfort if they do not have an anaesthetic, but will not have the side-effects or drowsiness of those who have medication as well. If you choose this method, you can take 1g Paracetamol and 400mg of Ibuprofen prior to your procedure, but please let the nurses know of any medication you have taken. Please do not take Aspirin. 

  • We use a very safe, simple and gentle method of suction.
  • The procedure is very short and usually takes less than 5 minutes to perform.
  • Your nurse will chat with you throughout your termination to help you to relax.
  • Warm, scented pads can be placed on your abdomen which most women find relaxing and reassuring. 

After your treatment, the nurse will take you back to your recliner so that you can relax and have some light refreshments before you leave.

Surgical abortion with sedation

A nurse will take you into the treatment room. At this stage, you'll meet the anaesthetist and the doctor who'll be carrying out your treatment. The anaesthetist will sedate you through a small needle in your arm. You won't be asleep and may experience some brief discomfort and cramping. Sedation is safer than having a general anaesthetic as you're awake throughout the process – therefore the effects of the drugs used are vastly reduced. 

Ways we can reduce any discomfort:

  • One of the drugs used is an effective painkiller.
  • We use a very safe, simple and gentle method of suction.
  • The procedure for early gestations is very short and usually takes less than 5 minutes.
  • Your nurse will chat with you throughout your treatment to help you relax.
  • Warm, scented pads can be placed on your abdomen which many women find relaxing and reassuring.

After your treatment, the nurse will escort you back to your recliner so that you can relax and have some refreshments before you leave. After a while, you'll be encouraged to walk around to help you get back to feeling normal. You may feel slightly woozy for a little time. Let your nurse know if you are experiencing nausea, sickness, or have any pain as we can give you something to relieve these symptoms.

Your treatment with general anaesthetic

We recommend a general anaesthetic for women over 18-19 weeks of pregnancy. You will not feel pain during this procedure as you will be completely asleep. A nurse will take you into the treatment room. At this stage, you'll meet the doctor who will be carrying out your treatment and an anaesthetist. The anaesthetic drugs will be given through a needle in your arm.

After the procedure, you'll be taken into the recovery area until you're fully awake, although you may have no memory of your treatment. A nurse will escort you back to your recliner so that you can relax and recover before you go home. 

After a while, you'll be offered light refreshments and encouraged to walk around to help you get back to feeling normal. You may feel woozy for a little time and some women can experience nausea and vomiting. If this happens, please let the nurse know, and we can give you something to relieve this. If you experience pain or discomfort your nurse can give you painkillers.

Although most women do not experience a complication, there are some risks associated with a general anaesthetic, and it's important you know about them. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, and possible pain at the injection site.

Less common problems include respiratory and/or breathing difficulties, muscle pain, an allergic reaction to the drugs and in very severe cases, stroke. We take every measure to ensure your safety during terminations at Marie Stopes, but we feel it is our duty to inform you of all the risks. 

Abortions after 15 weeks 

If your pregnancy is more than 15 weeks advanced, we may give you some medication to prepare your cervix for the procedure. This will be given to you 2-3 hours before the procedure and you'll remain in our centre so we can care for you during this time. You do not need an anaesthetic for the medication, and you may experience some cramping and minor bleeding prior to going to the operating theatre.

Late abortions (19-24 weeks pregnant)

At this gestation of pregnancy, the treatment is performed in two separate stages. You'll be asked to arrive at the centre early in the morning for the first stage. This involves giving you medication to cause your cervix to gently dilate over the next few hours. There is no need to have an anaesthetic for this part of the treatment and you will remain in the clinic so we can care for you here. You will experience some cramping and occasionally have some bleeding during this stage.

The second stage, to complete the abortion, will take place under a general anaesthetic. This will take place later that day. We request you are accompanied home and have someone to stay with you overnight. Please see our aftercare section for more details. 

Need to talk about your options?

Our caring, specialist staff are on hand 24/7 to offer expert advice and support – from your initial consultation to treatment aftercare.

Call us now on 0345 300 8090 or email services@mariestopes.org.uk

NHS-funded treatment

FEES for Irish Women

Private FEES

Stories that matter 

Read our stories that matter page where you will find personal stories sent by women who have had an abortion.